World War Z

World War Z

by

Max Brooks

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World War Z: Chapter 1: Warnings Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Greater Chongqing, The United Federation of China. The Greater Chongqing area had a pre-war population of over 35 million, but there are now barely 50,000 survivors. Reconstruction efforts by the government have been slow in this part of the nation, but the local security council, chaired by Kwang Jing-shu, has managed to prevent any further outbreaks.
The war has caused a staggering number of deaths and has left a broken world. It has also left a changed world, with China now called the “United Federation.”
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Kwang, an elderly doctor, describes the first outbreak that he saw. It was in a remote village that didn’t even have an official name. It was nicknamed “New Dachang” since the inhabitants had been forced to relocate from their village called “Old Dachang,” which had been flooded after the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Kwang had a hard time finding the place, and when he finally reached the village, he knew that something was seriously wrong. He found seven sick villagers in cots in the cold, damp community hall, which had been locked from the outside because, the villagers said, “it wasn’t ‘safe.’” Kwang felt upset at the peasants’ ignorance at a time when China was “the world’s richest and most dynamic superpower, masters of everything from outer space to cyber space.”
The peasants whom Kwang meets were forced to abandon their old home and relocate to a village that the authorities haven’t even bothered to name. They are some of the victims of pre-war China’s push for progress and modernity, since their old village was flooded after the Three Gorges Dam was constructed. Later in the novel, the collapse of this dam, which was improperly planned and maintained, will cause much tragedy and the loss of many lives. Progress wasn’t even, and peasants like these bore the cost of China’s desire to become “the world’s richest and most dynamic superpower.”
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The first patient Kwang examined was a woman who had a high fever and was shivering, and he noticed a bite mark on her arm. The other six patients had similar symptoms, and all had bite marks, too. Kwang asked who had bitten them and the villagers took him to a 12-year-old boy they kept tied, gagged, and locked in an abandoned house. Kwang tells the narrator that this was “Patient Zero.” The villagers tried to hold Kwang back and warned him not to get close to the boy, but Kwang did not listen. He found the boy had cold, gray skin, no blood at the sites of his many wounds, and no pulse. The boy was “inexplicably hostile” and tried to bite Kwang as he examined him, so Kwang ordered two strong villagers to help him hold the boy down. 
While Kwang initially found the villagers to be cruel and ignorant in their treatment of the patients, he soon came to find that their fear was justified. He encounters “Patient Zero,” who Kwang assumes is the source of the infection since he was the one who had bitten the others. The boy’s strange symptoms all suggest that he is dead, and yet, he seems to be alive. Kwang finds his symptoms as well as his behavior to be “inexplicable”—all his years of medical experience seem to be useless when faced with this new disease. 
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When Kwang tried to get a blood sample, Patient Zero struggled so violently that his arm broke off from his body, and yet he didn’t even seem to notice.  Kwang’s two assistants were frightened and ran away, and Kwang, too, was so unnerved by the sick child that he hurried out and locked the door behind him.
Kwang is completely unnerved when the boy’s arm breaks away from his body and he doesn’t seem to even realize it—the boy’s lack of a reaction to pain is unlike anything Kwang has known in all his years of being a doctor. Kwang is terrified, not only because the boy’s symptoms are so strange but also because Kwang feels completely bewildered and powerless.
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The villagers were reluctant to disclose how the boy got sick, and finally, a woman told Kwang that the boy and his father had gone diving in the reservoir to try and find something valuable from the villages that had been submerged by the waters of the dam. This was an illegal activity, and Kwang promised he wouldn’t inform the police. The boy’s father never reappeared, while the boy had resurfaced, crying, with a bite mark on his foot.
Despite the strange and dangerous events that the peasants are living through, they are also terrified that the police will punish them for allowing the boy to swim in the waters of the dam, which is against the law. This points to the repressive laws they lived under—they live in constant fear of the government. The boy was bitten on his foot and this seems to have been the source of his infection. This suggests that there were other infected zombies before “Patient Zero.”
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Kwang called his old friend, Dr. Gu Wen Kuei, who worked at the Institute of Infectious Diseases. As soon as Kwang showed him the infected patients, Gu turned serious and asked Kwang to vacate the room and secure the doors, promising to send “support.” In less than an hour, 50 men in hazmat suits arrived in helicopters, claiming to be from the Ministry of Health. Kwang suspected they were instead from the Ministry of State Security. As the patients were carried out and taken away, an old woman screamed at them, saying this was their punishment for destroying Fengdu, an ancient city of temples and shrines, which had also been drowned by the waters of the dam.
Gu’s quick reaction corroborates Kwang’s suspicion that this is not the first case of the virus. The government seems to be already aware of it and takes quick—and ominous—steps to deal with it. The old peasant woman who screams at the security officials seems to suggest that this has been caused by unchecked progress with no respect for old traditions. Kwang seems to be affected by her proclamation, suggesting that he might agree with it.
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Gu had subtly warned Kwang before the army men had arrived that this was something very serious, giving him enough time to call his daughter and warn her to leave the country. The section ends with the narrator noting that Kwang Jingshu was arrested by the MSS and imprisoned without any formal charges. By the time he escaped, the outbreak had spread outside of China.
Gu could not warn Kwang outright about the dangerous situation he was in because he likely knew he was being surveilled. Sure enough, Kwang is imprisoned because of the Chinese government’s desperate attempts to keep the virus a secret. Rather than attempting to solve the problem, the government seems focused on secrecy in order to deny that it has any problems and to maintain the illusion of unassailable power. Its method of dealing with the crisis is not only inhumane but also proves to be ineffective since the virus ends up spreading all over the world.
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Lhasa, The People’s Republic of Tibet. Lhasa is the “world’s most populous city” and is celebrating the results of its most recent elections, in which the Social Democrats overthrew the Llamist Party. The narrator meets Nury Televaldi here, and says that they have to shout to be heard over the revelers.
The war has wrought many changes in the world’s political landscape. The mountainous city of Lhasa has survived it well and must have received an influx of refugees that has turned it into a big, busy city. However, if Lhasa is now the “world’s most populous city,” clearly the other big cities of the past—Paris, London, Tokyo, to name a few—must have suffered a staggering loss of lives.
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Televaldi says that before the outbreak, overland smuggling was neither popular nor profitable, so he’d been an importer of illegal goods and people. But after the illness broke out, people were desperate to get out and he arranged for them to do so. While the government pretended to come down hard on smugglers like him—or shetou, as they were called—Televaldi claims that he could bribe his way through quite easily. He says that he did most of his smuggling over land to places like Kashi, and only dabbled in air travel to Kazakhstan or Russia. On the east coast of China, however, clients paid more and managed to get to cities like London and San Francisco. While shetous tried to make sure their clients were not infected, some just didn’t have visible bites and escaped detection.
In the interest of making a quick profit, human smugglers like Televaldi exploited people’s fear and enabled the virus to spread globally. Throughout the novel, illegal activity fueled by greed—be it illegal organ trafficking or police officers paid off to look the other way—is consistently responsible for the spread of the virus across the globe.
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Many of these refugees had hoped there might be a cure for the infection in the West, but were also afraid to see a doctor when they got there because they worried they might be sent back to China. Televaldi says these refugees were desperate, “trapped between their infections and being rounded up and ‘treated’ by their own government.” Many refugees disappeared into the big cities. Some lived with family or friends, but most “simply melted into the host country’s underbelly.” Televaldi surmises that this is why so many outbreaks started in “First World ghettos.”
People in China were terrified of the infection, knowing that they’d be treated horribly if their government got a hold of them. Fear made them desperate to escape their country, despite suspecting there was no cure for them anywhere. With this, the novel begins to build out the idea that fear itself is dangerous, because it makes people vulnerable and leaves them open to being exploited by people like Televaldi, who simply want to make money.
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Televaldi smuggled most of his clients into central Asia, into countries so poor and where the officials were so corrupt that they welcomed his business. The narrator asks him if he saw many infected people, and Televaldi says that he didn’t in the beginning, because the infected were spotted on the road and taken away by the police. However, later, the number of infestations multiplied and the police were unable to keep up, and he began seeing many. They were rarely dangerous since their families would have them tied up, and some were even kept in crates with airholes.
While the zombie problem seemed small initially—and might have been easy to control with better policies—it soon started becoming unwieldy. In charting the way that the virus snowballs out of control in China and then around the world, the novel makes the case that shortsighted government policies can cause devastating levels of harm.
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Televaldi considers himself lucky because he wasn’t involved in sea smuggling, which was much more dangerous since infected clients could infect everyone on board. Some captains tossed out the infected onto the first deserted coast they came across, while others threw them into the sea. While he didn’t have to encounter anything quite as terrifying, he did have an experience that convinced him it was time to quit smuggling. One of his clients was a wealthy investment banker from Xi’an who was escaping into Kyrgyzstan with a locked trailer full of infected family members. Looking at this wealthy man, scratched and desperate, Televaldi was convinced that soon, money wasn’t going to be worth very much.
Acting on fear, sea smugglers tossed their infected cargo in the sea or on land, not even considering that they were causing the virus to spread by releasing zombies everywhere. Televaldi finally decides to quit smuggling because he recognizes that wealth is useless against the virus. The pre-zombie world in which money meant comfort and safety now no longer exists.
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Meteora, Greece. The monasteries at Meteora were built into rocks as a refuge from the Ottoman Turks, and they also proved to be effective against the zombies. This has made Meteora popular with pilgrims and tourists. Stanley MacDonald, a Canadian veteran, has traveled here to seek peace. He first encountered the zombies while on an anti-drug operation in Kyrgyzstan. His team discovered a caravan that had been attacked and was surrounded by blood and rotting flesh, but they found no corpses other than those of the mules. The opium hadn’t been touched, which puzzled Macdonald and his men. They followed the trail of blood to a cave.
MacDonald must be still disturbed by the things he has seen and experienced, which is why he has come to faraway Greece on his quest for peace. In the previous section, Televaldi’s smuggling operations got Chinese refugees out of China and into surrounding countries like Kazakhstan. In this section, the zombies have wandered into Kazakhstan’s neighbor, Kyrgyzstan, showing how they slowly spread over the whole continent due to government negligence and poor policy.
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Inside, they found human remains. The intact bodies had been killed by shots to the head, and they had chewed up meat in their throats and stomachs. The rest were just pieces of bodies. The innermost room of the cave had collapsed from a detonated booby trap, and there was a moving hand sticking out through the rubble. MacDonald instinctively grabbed it, and it immediately latched onto his, crushing his fingers and not letting go even when he dug his heels in and tried to pull away. A zombie’s torso emerged as MacDonald pulled, and tore away from the lower half of its body which was still stuck under the rocks. It was clawing at MacDonald, trying to chomp at his arm. MacDonald shot its head off.
Here, MacDonald describes the horror of encountering several dead zombies as well as a live one. What is most chilling about the live zombie—besides its nauseating cannibalism—is its seeming invincibility. Despite being buried beneath the rubble and then torn in half, the zombie refuses to be stopped. The only thing that does stop the zombie is shooting it in the head—which, given how rapidly the virus is spreading, is bound to be a slow and dangerous way to fight the zombies.
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After sharing their discoveries back in Edmonton, MacDonald and his team were told they’d been exposed to “unknown chemical agents” or were having an adverse reaction to their prophylactic medication. They were also told they must be suffering from PTSD and needed to be evaluated. MacDonald concludes the interview by saying he was a good soldier and thought he “was ready for anything,” but nothing could have prepared him for the zombies.
The Canadian government dealt with the information provided by these soldiers in an irresponsible manner, choosing denial over action. The information that MacDonald and the other soldiers brought back must have seemed so ridiculous that the government’s immediate reaction was to try and explain it away. They had no inkling that life as they knew it was about to be undergo a complete transformation. The cost of ignoring these early danger signs will be huge for Canada and other nations around the world.
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The Amazon Rain Forest, Brazil. The narrator goes to the settlement of the Yanomami or the “Fierce People” to speak with Fernando Oliveira, a drug-addled white man. Oliveira says that before the outbreak, he made a lot of money by performing illegal organ transplants. Many of his clients were North American. One Austrian patient, Herr Muller, needed a new heart and it arrived in a plastic picnic cooler from the airport, most likely from China. Oliveira assisted Dr. Silva, a cardiologist, to perform the heart transplant.
The spread of the virus across the world was helped along by crime and corruption. People like Televaldi and Oliveira were so focused on getting rich that they ignored the dark side of their business operations until the zombies were literally at their doors.
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Herr Muller never woke up from the anesthesia. His symptoms—“temperature, pulse rate, oxygen saturation”—started right after they sewed him closed. Dr. Silva put it down to a reaction to the medication or just the trauma of such a big procedure, and he told Oliveira to go relax and that he would watch Muller. While Oliveira was out on the town, his receptionist called him in a panic to tell him that Muller had slipped into a coma. Oliveira rushed back to the clinic to find the receptionist consoling one of the nurses, who was crying. The nurse said that Muller had flatlined unexpectedly, and while Dr. Silva was trying to revive him, he’d woken up and bitten him. The nurse had run out and locked the door behind her.
These characters’ first encounter with a zombie is horrific and shocking. The nurse cannot fathom how a dead man could wake up and then attack the doctor by biting him. In her fear, she has run out and left the doctor at the mercy of the zombie. She probably couldn’t call anyone else other than Oliveira for help because their entire business is an illegal one, and she must have worried that they’d be arrested. In previous instances, too, fear has resulted in the spread of the zombie virus—Patient Zero had been illegally swimming in a dam when he was bitten, which was why the peasants hadn’t called in the doctor until he had bitten six more people, and Chinese citizens were hiding their bites and infections and escaping from their country because they were scared of the strict government policies they’d have to endure if they stayed back home.
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Oliveira got his gun from his car, and then knocked on Muller’s door. Receiving no response, he entered to find blood covering the floor and Silva lying in a corner, with Muller feeding on him. Muller turned towards Oliveira and started walking towards him. Oliveira shot him, blowing his head off. He then called the police, whom he usually paid off to look the other way when he performed his illegal surgeries. They covered up the incident by claiming that a murderer had broken in and killed Silva and Muller.
What this attack has in common with previous ones that the narrator has recounted thus far is government officials’ willingness to look the other way (e.g., the Canadian government telling its soldiers that they were merely suffering from PTSD) and greed-fueled illegal activity (e.g., human traffickers smuggling goods and people into other countries). These conditions create the perfect storm for the virus to spread rapidly across the globe.
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Oliveira says that Muller’s wife was lucky because he had reanimated immediately rather than carrying the virus back home. Muller immediately showed symptoms because he got an infected heart which had direct access to the circulatory system, but that symptoms would be slow to show up if other body parts were transplanted, like a liver or a skin graft. He says that many organs came from China, and that thousands of people got illegal organ transplants before the Great War broke out. He is sure that some of them were infected, which is one of the ways the virus made its way into developed nations.
That there were thousands of illegal organ transplants administered before the war again emphasizes how illegal activity rooted in greed and cloaked in secrecy is the perfect breeding ground for the virus to spread. The people harvesting the organs are presumably only in it for the money—not to help people who desperately need an organ transplant—and thus don’t care where the organ comes from and whether or not the person was infected with the virus.
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Oliveira says that none of his clients, even those from the “self-righteous United States,” cared where the organs came from, though they were often procured cruelly and unethically. The narrator asks him if he ever tried to warn clients after their surgeries that they might have been infected, and Oliveira says that by the time he realized how serious the situation was, it was too late.
Oliveira claims that Americans didn’t care about ethics when they wanted something desperately enough, and this greed and shortsightedness is in part what fueled the spread of the virus. With this, the novel begins to develop the theme of the fragility of privilege, as money can’t fix everything and is useless once a person is infected.
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Bridgetown Harbor, Barbados, West Indies Federation. Jacob Nyathi, a sea captain in the West Indies, says that he was born in South Africa. Nyathi grew up in extreme poverty in a township outside Cape Town. One day, while returning from work at 5 a.m., he heard gunfire coming from the shanties his home was in. People began to run, screaming, “They’re coming!” Nyathi’s family lived in the direction the crowd was running from, so he tried to make his way against the crowd but was knocked into a collapsing shanty. When he managed to get up, he saw the zombies, “slouching steadily towards [him] with their arms raised.”
The zombies are so strange and frightening that people’s first reaction to them is extreme fear. In previous interviews, the zombies have only appeared singly, as in the case of Patient Zero, Herr Muller, and the zombie that MacDonald sees in the cave in Kyrgyzstan. Here, Nyathi describes the first time that a group of zombies turns on people, and the result is pure terror.
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A zombie attacked Nyathi from behind, and he saw that it had a knife sticking out of its chest and that “black fluid” ran from the wound. Nyathi escaped by slamming a cooking pot against its skull until “the bone split open and the brains spilled out.” He ran out and saw a woman hiding with two children huddled against her. Nyathi tried to get them to go with him, but the woman was so afraid and confused that she stabbed him. Nyathi left them and ran, but still thinks about them.
Nyathi was unnerved to see the zombie unaffected by the knife in its chest. This again highlights how the zombies are so different from any creature that people have encountered before, and their strange and extreme difference is what makes them so scary. Zombies also seem to be unstoppable, which makes them doubly frightening. The woman Nyathi tries to help is so frightened by all the bizarre events of the night that she attacks the one person who might have helped her, showing that fear causes people to behave irrationally.
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Nyathi ran into blinding headlights and felt something hid his shoulder right before he passed out. He woke up in Groote Schuur Hospital and discovered that he’d been shot by the police. He overheard people talking about an outbreak of “rabies,” and that there were 15 cases in the hospital and probably many more out in the city.
In the initial stages of the outbreak, the zombie virus was misclassified as a type of rabies, suggesting that the authorities didn’t take it seriously enough to properly study it. Like the Canadian army, the South African authorities, too, were irresponsible in the way they dealt with the virus. If they had understood the immense danger it presented, they might have been able to prevent the global disaster which it ends up causing. 
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Tel Aviv, Israel. The narrator meets Jurgen Warmbrunn, an Israeli intelligence agent, at an Ethiopian restaurant. Warmbrunn says that most people “don’t believe something can happen until it already has.” But he was “born into a group of people who live in constant fear of extinction,” and they are always wary. 
According to Warmbrunn, the Jewish people “live in constant fear of extinction” because of the violence they faced during the Holocaust. Rather than let this fear cloud their judgment, as many people do in this novel, they use it constructively to stay open to signs of danger and to come up with novel solutions to problems.
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The first warning Warmbrunn had that something was amiss was from friends and customers in Taiwan who complained about the new software decryption program that was either failing to decode some emails from China or decoding them poorly. When he took a look at these emails, he saw that they were about “a new viral outbreak that first eliminated its victim, then reanimated his corpse into some kind of homicidal berzerker.” He didn’t believe these messages were literal—he suspected it was a code within a code—and yet felt uneasy about them. 
Warmbrunn’s statement provides a look into pre-war politics—nations feared one another, and had formed allegiances to spy on each another. This divided world, with its environment of fear and mistrust, enabled the outbreak. By this time, China’s government clearly knew about the nature and dangers of the virus, but is irresponsibly bent upon keeping it a secret from the rest of the world.
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Sometime later, Warmbrunn spoke to a professor from Hebrew University who told him about his cousin in South Africa who’d spoken about golems and “reanimating human bodies.” Warmbrunn got in touch with the cousin, who told him about the stories he’d heard from the hospital staff at Groote Schuur. After the Arab attack of 1973, intelligence analysts in Israel were wary and investigated everything. Warmbrunn uncovered cases of “rabies” like at Cape Town, psychological evaluations of the Canadian troops who had returned from Kyrgyzstan, and blog records of a Brazilian nurse who spoke of the murder of a heart surgeon. He came to believe in the existence of this new threat, and also discovered that they could be destroyed by destroying their brains.
Warmbrunn channels his fears in a positive way and becomes the first to sniff out and connect all the strange events around the world that relate to the zombie threat. He also, admirably, deduces from these reports that the only way to destroy the zombies is to destroy their brains. Warmbrunn is an embodiment of caution, intelligence, and responsibility, and demonstrates how the threat could have been dealt with in an ideal world.
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Warmbrunn reached out to his friend Paul Knight, a former CIA agent who now worked in private security. Knight, too, had been working on the same project in his own time, and the two of them combined all the information they had in a report that came to be called the Warmbrunn-Knight report, even though it contained inputs from various experts from around the world. Warmbrunn says that if the report had been taken seriously, the outbreak would never have reached epic proportions. He says that the South African war plan deservedly gets a lot of credit, but that it would have been unnecessary if more people had read and followed this report. His own government, too, barely followed it, and there was a high price to be paid.
Knight, like Warmbrunn, seems to be a highly intelligent individual who is tuned in to the pulse of world events, and it is telling that he is “former” CIA—implying that his values didn’t align with the CIA’s, which was probably not as thorough and efficient. The Warmbrunn-Knight report might have nipped the zombie menace in the bud, but, tragically, it wasn’t taken seriously by any governments other than Israel’s. Once again, this shows that government apathy exacerbated the zombie problem. Warmbrunn notes that Israel, too, “barely” followed the plan, and that it suffered because of it—he is alluding to the Israeli Civil War, which will be mentioned in the next interview. He also mentions “the South African war plan” as “deservedly” getting credit in the war. He is talking about the Redeker Plan, which will be discussed in more detail later in the book. While it did help to control the zombie crisis, it was also a cruel plan that led to many civilians’ deaths. The Warmbrunn-Knight would have been a much better and more humane alternative.
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Bethlehem, Palestine. Saladin Kader is professor of urban planning at Khalil Gibran University in Bethlehem, which is “one of the Middle East’s most affluent cities.” He says that he was raised in Kuwait City, where he worked after school at a Starbuck’s. This was where he watched the Al Jazeera broadcast in which the Israeli ambassador announced to the UN General Assembly that their country would be entering “voluntary quarantine.” Kader had joined the other customers in their jeers and catcalls, disbelieving the story about the zombies, especially since it came from his “most hated enemy.”
In this section, the narrator shows how Israel acted on the recommendations of the Knight-Warmbrunn report by declaring “voluntary quarantine.” Kader, a Palestinian, hated the Israelis and immediately disbelieved their claims. Again, the narrator shows that the pre-war divided world facilitated the outbreak since nations feared and did not trust each other.
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Kader’s father, who was a janitor at a hospital, had been on duty on a night when there had been an African rabies outbreak, and had decided it was too dangerous to stay in Kuwait. Since Israel had offered asylum to all Palestinians who had once lived within its borders, Kader’s father wanted to return, which made Kader furious. His father tried to convince him that he had no loyalty to the Israelis, but only wanted to go there since they seemed to be the only country preparing for the calamity at hand. Kader planned to stay behind and join a terrorist organization in Kuwait, and he called his father a disbeliever for choosing to return. His father, who was neither a large nor violent man, slapped Kader and shouted at him—and finally, Kader was cowed into obeying.
Here, the narrator illustrates two contrasting ways in which fear affects people. Kader’s fear of Israeli domination clouds his judgment, while his father’s fear for his family’s safety of his family makes him grasp at the practical solution at hand, shelving his personal feelings about Israel in order to get his family to safety. In general, the book suggests that people who can adapt to a changing world are more adept at finding solutions, while those, like Kader, who are stuck in old ways of thinking end up putting themselves in danger.
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When the asylum-seekers approached the border of Israel, Kader saw the Wall for the first time. It surrounded the entire border of Israel. They were made to walk slowly past large dogs in cages. The dogs barked furiously at an old man who walked just ahead of Kader, and he was immediately taken to a black unmarked van. Kader thought the Israelis were separating the infirm and old who might be of no use to them in internment camps. Then, a loud, well-dressed American behind him also set off the dogs and was escorted out, which puzzled Kader. He thought the dogs might be screening for rabies, which is what he believed the entire time he was in the resettlement and quarantine camp. 
The Israelis had taken smart precautions to separate infected refugees from the rest—probably acting on a suggestion from the Knight-Warmbrunn Report. Again, the narrator shows that they took practical steps against the virus while still maintaining their humanity and admitting refugees, which is admirable. In contrast, China’s repressive measures against its own citizens were causing them to flee in fear, spreading the virus around the world. 
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Kader and his family felt like prisoners at the overcrowded camp with its barbed wire and guards. After three weeks, his family cleared their medical examinations and were put on a bus for Tel Aviv. However, as their bus entered the city, they were shot at by civilian Jews, and an Israeli soldier sacrificed his life to protect them. This was the beginning of the Israeli Civil War, which was fought because many Israelis were unhappy with their government’s decision to repatriate Palestinians and pull out of the West Bank.
Warmbrunn had mentioned in the previous section that even Israel paid a high price—and what he was referring to was the Israeli Civil War, in which many civilians and soldiers lost their lives even though the nation was protected by zombies. Kader previously believed that all Jews were evil, but his ideas were immediately upturned when he entered Israel and an Israeli soldier gave his life to protect him—this showed him that Israel and the world was more complex and layered than he’d previously assumed.
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Just then, one of the unmarked vans drove by and was hit by a handheld rocket. It burst into flames and figures started to crawl out of it, through the fire. The soldiers started shooting at them, but these figures kept moving until they were shot in the head. Kader says he suddenly understood “what the Israelis had been trying to warn the rest of the world about” and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t listen.
On first seeing the zombies, Kader immediately recognizes the danger they pose and snaps out of his angry, closed point of view about Israel. As soon as he understands how dangerous the situation is, he cannot fathom how other nations could ignore Israel’s warnings or any evidence of this danger. This is a question that the narrator attempts to answer in the next chapter.
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